Light at the nanoscale to advance science

21 April, 2016
This work opens up avenues of research to discover the possibilities of optoelectronic and photonic nanodevices.

CIC nanoGUNE researchers manage to view infrared light in graphene nanostructures.


In order to continue moving forward in the development of nanoscience and its applications, a team of scientists from the Basque research centre CIC nanoGUNE, in collaboration with The Institute of Photonic Sciences (Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas – ICFO) and the graphene structures company Graphenea, have observed infrared light in graphene nanostructures for the first time.


This work has taken place in the context of the search for compact technologies in the nanoscience age and opens avenues of research to discover the possibilities of photodetectors, sensors and other extremely small optoelectronic and photonic nanodevices.


“Our results open up new avenues for graphene based technologies, which could lead to low power consuming efficient optical nanodevices”, says Rainer Hillenbrand, project director and Ikerbasque researcher.


Smartphones, ultrafast computers and medical tools require ever-more sophisticated electronic elements and, for this reason, optical blocks are being considered as an alternative to the options employed to date. However, although light is very fast, scientists have not yet been able to adapt it well to the small volumes used by nanoengineering.


The very fundamentals of physics play against it, since light cannot be compressed into a space smaller than half its wave length, i.e. a size far superior to the electronic building blocks of devices. Consequently, making progress in light concentration formulas for its propagation through nanoscale materials is a significant scientific milestone. The research has been published on the cover of the prestigious scientific journal Nature Photonics.

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